Leading global MVNO Lycamobile has acquired Ortel Mobile NV from entertainment and telecommunications provider Telenet Group BVBA.
Prior to the acquisition, Lycamobile was already the largest MVNO operating in Belgium, accounting for around 37 percent of all virtual operator SIM cards in Belgium, based on numbers for Q3 2016, while Ortel followed in second place.
The addition of Ortel Mobile NV, a direct subsidiary of Telenet (previously BASE Company NV) and provider of international prepaid mobile telephony solutions in Belgium, will increase Lycamobile’s total customer base in the region to 1 million.
Strengthening Lycamobile’s position as the largest MVNO in Belgium, its acclaimed the deal will significantly enhance its customer offering in the region and will offer increased access to national as well as international deals at competitive prices.
Lycamobile has also announced that it has entered into a new MVNO partnership agreement with Telenet, further expanding its regional offering by providing customers with access to Telenet’s mobile network.
Lyca Group Chairman, Allirajah Subaskaran (pictured), commented ‘We have been active in Belgium since 2007 and are now delighted to announce our partnership with Telenet and acquisition of Ortel Mobile, which significantly enhances Lycamobile’s offering in the region. This will all be to the ultimate benefit of our customers.’
‘We're delighted to welcome this new partner’, John Porter, CEO of Telenet, added. ‘By acquiring BASE, Telenet has become an important partner in the MVNO market and intends to stay that way. Telenet's aim is to operate the best mobile network and we plan to invest up to €250m (£212m) in the upgrade of our mobile infrastructure of which most will be completed by mid-2018. These targeted investments, combined with the reputation inherited from BASE in terms of partnerships, will attract new partners, thus creating new opportunities for us. The sale of our direct subsidiary Ortel Mobile to Lycamobile represents a logical step in our strategy as Telenet has the strong ambition to grow in the wholesale business preferring to concentrate on new MVNO partnerships instead of investing in separate prepaid international mobile communication business units.’
Belgium’s mobile market is served by three main network operators and a growing number of MVNOs. All three MNOs, Proximus, Orange Belgium and BASE (Telenet) have upgraded their networks with HSPA and LTE technologies. Operator investment in LTE infrastructure has meant that there is almost universal population coverage, but operators and the regulator are looking to the potential of 5G, the regulator having worked with Ericsson to assess suitable spectrum for trialling 5G applications in anticipation of a commercial launch of services by about 2022.